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Image Credit: Bob D'Amico/ABC

Jason Mott's 'The Returned' lives on in ABC's 'The Resurrection'

ABC’s show Resurrection is making waves by waking the dead in the small town of Arcadia, Missouri. Unlike The Walking Dead, these characters return exactly as they were the day they died — or at least, they appear so.

Image Credit: Michael Becker

Image Credit: Michael Becker

Now, I know what you’re thinking. I normally bring you TV tales from Wilmington, North Carolina (aka Wilmywood), not Atlanta, where Resurrection is filmed. But Resurrection‘s story didn’t originate with Brad Pitt’s company, Plan B. It came from the visionary mind of Bolton, North Carolina, writer Jason Mott. His novel The Returned took off before it was even published, and ABC quickly transformed it into the supernatural television series. I caught up with Mott at a local charity event, and we arranged to chat via Facebook about his involvement with the show and this Sunday’s season finale.

“We’ve all heard and sometimes seen the horror stories of film/television options gone wrong,” Mott said. “Once you option something, it’s usually out of your hands, so we did the best we could in choosing a good fit for the project.”

To be clear, Plan B was always Mott’s Plan A. He’s so confident in the production company that he’s relinquished all creative control. “Resurrection is Aaron Zelman’s baby, and he’s doing a terrific job with it,” Mott said. “Early on, we had a few chats about directions the show could go in, but that was it. Everything after those initial talks has been Aaron’s dominion, and he’s making something special happen on screen.”

When Wilmywood’s hit show Under the Dome strayed from the book’s narrative, King wrote a letter to assuage potentially upset fans. Mott? Not so much.

“I’ve been pretty vocal about how much I like what they’re doing with the show, so I don’t think I’ll need to pen any letter. But if a lot of people ask, then maybe I will,” he said. “I truly am thrilled with what they’re doing. They’re striking that perfect balance between staying true to the spirit of the novel but not being a slave to the narrative. They’re not supposed to copy and paste. They’re supposed to take liberties, make it their own project. And that’s what they’re doing. I love it.”

But Zelman has kept a few details from the book. There’s a scene in episode 3 where the character Caleb (Sam Hazeldine) is talking to Agent Bellamy (Samuel Catlin) about what happened after his death. Caleb mentions hearing “some sort of music.” This is a nod to one of the later scenes in The Returned. Mott said: “I won’t go into much detail because it’ll be a spoiler for people who haven’t read the book, but I thought it was pretty cool that the writers of the show put that in. They are a terrific group of people.”

the_returned_3DThat’s not to say that Jason hasn’t been on set. When the pilot was casting, most of the actors began following Mott on Twitter, so he knew their faces before arriving in Atlanta for the shoot. On his first night there, he entered the hotel elevator next to a guy in a flannel shirt and jeans. Mott thought he recognized him from somewhere and said as such. It took them a while, but Mott made the connection first. “I said, ‘Sam? Sam Hazeldine?!’ The light went on for him too. He was like, ‘Wait … are you Jason? Jason Mott?!’ … We both hugged and started laughing, so that was my very first introduction to the cast. A pretty good start, I think.”

I have to agree. If you want to catch Resurrection‘s season finale, it airs on Sunday, May 4, but don’t expect Mott to drop any spoilers: “Haha! Nope. No hints. Tune in. That’s all I’ll say.”

But he will dish on his next novel: “It’s another magical realism story, titled The Wonder of All Things. It’s about a father and daughter who get caught in the middle of something very big when the world discovers that the daughter is very, shall we just say, ‘special.’ More details will be coming very soon.”

We’ll be waiting.

To read more Hollywood happenings in North Carolina, visit my blog, The Wilmywood Daily, at WilmywoodNC.com.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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